News & Politics

This Is The Insane Cost of Off-Campus Housing in DC

Photograph via iStock.

Not only do Washington residents need to earn about $80,000 a year to live ‘comfortably’ in the fair capital of the free world, but in a recent survey put out by a mobile startup for apartment searches and rent payment called RadPad, the district fares as one of the worst for students in need of off-campus housing. The survey, which measured the median two-bedroom rental price within a mile of each of the 380 campuses represented on Princeton Review’s Best Colleges of 2016 list, found that DC fared as one of the worst cities on the list, with four local colleges ranking among the “50 Most Expensive Universities to Live Off Campus.”

With one of the highest out-of-state tuitions in the country—it’s the 7th most expensive at $50,435 in the 2015-2016 yearit perhaps shouldn’t surprise us that it would cost a pretty penny to rent an apartment at George Washington University. It’s the fourth most expensive at an exorbitant $4,100 per month. And those statistics hold at other DC universities as well: RadPad estimates the rent average at Howard (14th most expensive in the country) at $3,450. American University and Georgetown University fall in place 20th with $3,012 per month and 44th at $2,332 per month, respectively.

For those students whose trust funds or parents are not footing the bill, the cost, often on top of the already unmanageable tuition and fees, makes attending school in cities like Washington, DC unattainable. A few other cities ranked higher than Washington in terms of housing expenses (San Francisco and Boston fared even worse) but only New York City and Washington landed four universities on the list.

According to real estate website, in December of 2015 DC rose from the 6th to the 5th most expensive city to rent in in the nation and had the 9th fastest rental cost growth. Meanwhile the average tuition at national private universities has jumped about 179 percent since 1995, and, though jobs don’t seem like much of a guarantee (youths are slowly climbing out of unprecedented unemployment rates brought on by the recession) getting a higher education still proves consistently beneficial in the long run.

So if you are in DC shelling out upwards of $2,000 a month and running off to a $50k+ salary job every week, count yourselves one of the lucky ones: you snuck through before the clock ran out. You could be paying more, and accruing astronomical debt at the same time, just to get the education statistics say you need.

And if you are a university teacher, the next time your student cites the metro as the reason they were running late for class, for goodness sakes, take pity on them.

Assistant Editor

Hayley is an Associate Editor at Washingtonian Weddings. Previously she was the the Style Editor at The Local Palate, a Southern food culture magazine based out of Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow her on instagram @wandertaste.